Worth a thousand words - Michael Davis

Sometimes a picture can tell the story. In newspapers, we use photographs to lend insight into a situation or put a face to personality.

Some argue, photographers mostly, that pictures help to tell parts of the story that the words can't. And I agree that art can certainly enhance the text and describe a scene that I certainly either don't want to or don't have room to.

But sometimes, pictures tell a different story than what they're intended to.

Scanning the Internet for news one night, I logged on to a Web site often known for breaking stories that more mainstream media shy away from at first.

It seems that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry had sometime over the holiday weekend gone hunting.

A series of three photos showed Kerry standing on what looked like a driving range with an American flag behind him and a shotgun in his hand.

Now, we all know what a "media professional" President Ronald Reagan was – his aides would often go out of their way to help news camera operators get the best shots of the president during his campaign and during his term in office.

But one of the three pictures of Kerry showed the candidate, fully facing the camera, holding a shotgun pointed downward, with his head cocked slightly to his left.

On his right was a man in cargo pants and shooting gear with a shotgun raised, remarkably, as if with the barrel against Kerry's temple.

Now, at first glance, one might think, "Oh my God, someone is already trying to kill Kerry."

It looked like something you might see on the news out of Iraq, only with different players.

But on closer inspection, one can only come to the conclusion that perhaps the shooter is standing slightly closer to the photographer than Kerry and the gun is in fact not pointed at the potential benefactor of the ketchup fortune at all, but somewhere skyward, aimed at some unknown target.

But it's hard to tell.

We often find our politicians enjoying slight bits of wry humor, such as dressing up in costumes and joking that they want to spend an entire budget on a bunch of bourbon. And perhaps this was the case, but I would like to think not. You may be able to tug on Superman's cape and get away with it, but you don't mess around with guns.

So, as you can see, a picture may be worth a thousand words, and as if it were going to be set down in the permanent record, you have to choose your words wisely.

Michael Davis covers government for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or via e-mail at mdavis@henryherald.com.